Job Quality and Work Sustainability – JobSustain
Job quality and work sustainability
The aim of our project is to further improve our understanding of job quality by investigating its determinants and health effects as well as the challenges that the latter raise for public policies.
A first research axis will study the determinants of job quality from the point of view of both firms and workers. This will allow us to highlight new reasons why firms may offer better or poorer-quality jobs, in particular in the dimension of job insecurity and non-standard forms of employment. We will also shed light on the dimensions of job quality that workers value most, whether they are in employment or searching for a job. A second research axis will investigate the health consequences of job quality. This issue is of major importance from the point of view of work sustainability since work-related health disorders may lead to prolonged periods of not working and, particularly among older workers, result in permanent withdrawal from the labour market. A third research axis will focus on the policy responses aiming at providing good-quality and inclusive work environments. We will consider three recent public policies implemented in France and provide an evaluation of their impact in terms of inclusiveness, in particular with respect to sick and disabled workers.
The project will rely on a multi-disciplinary approach borrowing from economics, sociology, management and public health. It will be essentially empirical, making use of existing micro datasets but also producing new data, either collected on the Internet or based on a lab experiment and on a qualitative survey.
The combination of these different methodological approaches will be critical in improving our understanding of the determinants of job quality.
Our analyses will also contribute to highlight some key factors of risks in terms of work-related health in France and how policies may make work more sustainable in the long run. These questions are of paramount importance in a context of rapid transformations in the world of work combined with noticeable demographic changes.
Globalisation, technological change and demographic changes are currently altering altogether the face of the labour market in most developed countries. New and, in particular, digital technologies as well as new markets create job opportunities. But these opportunities are not evenly spread across the working-age population nor across types of workers. The demand for adaptability and flexibility of the workforce is increasing fast. Together with the massive trend towards aging of active populations, this forcefully raises the issue of work sustainability, i.e. whether work allows the preservation and development of human resources in the course of their use.
The starting point of our project is the assumption that job quality is likely to be a key element of work sustainability. We adopt a definition of job quality based on the approach proposed by the European Trade Union Institute, which encompasses six dimensions of job quality: wages, involuntary non-standard forms of employment and job insecurity, working time and work-life balance, working conditions, skills and career development, and collective interest representation. As fertility decreases and individuals live longer, active populations get older and become more fragile, in particular in terms of health. Making work sustainable over the whole career therefore requires making it more inclusive. Job quality is likely to play a key role in achieving this goal first because better-quality jobs enhance individuals' satisfaction and health which, in turn, helps them maintain their work capacity. Second, an important dimension of career development – often disregarded in the literature – is work inclusiveness itself, i.e. the ability of firms and organisations to integrate elderly, sick and/or disabled people in the world of work.
The aim of our project is to improve our understanding of job quality by investigating its determinants and health effects as well as the challenges that the latter raise for public policies. A first research axis will study the determinants of job quality from the point of view of both firms and workers. This will allow us to highlight new reasons why firms may offer better or poorer-quality jobs, in particular in the dimension of job insecurity and non-standard forms of employment. We will also shed light on the dimensions of job quality that workers value most, whether they are in employment or searching for a job. The second workpackage will focus on the health effects of a number of dimensions of job quality. The existing literature has explored the health effects of job quality in a number of developed countries but little is known about France. Using French data, we intend to provide new evidence of the health effects of two dimensions of (poor) job quality: the risk of job loss and job strain potentially induced by working-time organisation and performance management. Our third workpackage will focus on the policy responses to the detrimental health effects generated by poor job quality. The policies we will consider are of two types. Some aim at creating incentives for firms to increase prevention in the workplace so as to reduce the risk of work accidents and professional diseases. The one we will study here relies on experience rating. We will consider whether it has been successful in making workplaces more secure and to what extent this success has been achieved by enhancing – or on the contrary at the expense of – work inclusiveness. Other policies aim at developing job opportunities for sick and disabled workers. We will consider two of them – focusing on salaried and self-employed workers respectively – and evaluate whether they have been successful in making work more inclusive.
Our project fits into SNR Défi 8 on "Sociétés innovantes, intégratives et adaptatives".
Madame Christine Erhel (Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Sciences de l'Action)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
LEDA Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine
LIRSA Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Sciences de l'Action
GATE-CNRS Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon-Saint-Etienne
GIP IRDES GIP Institut de Recherche et Documentation en Economie de la Santé
Help of the ANR 412,436 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2019 - 48 Months